How to Add a YouTube Feed to Your WordPress Site

You’re here because you want to add YouTube videos to your WordPress-hosted website. You might want to embed your own videos, or maybe include videos that other people have made.

Combining the power of your WordPress content management system and YouTube is just plain smart. By embedding videos within your content you’ll not only improve user engagement with your content, but it can result in more views for your videos as well—an added benefit if you’re trying to grow your own YouTube channel.

Regardless, WordPress has a variety of methods you can take to accomplish this task.

Below you’ll learn why adding YouTube videos to your site is a great idea, the different ways you can embed your video, and even uncover a few themes that are built for YouTube optimization right out of the box.

best WordPress hosting

Why Would I Want to Add YouTube Videos to My Site?

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Creating your own YouTube channel can be a great way to enhance your existing online marketing efforts. But, you can also multiply your efforts on YouTube by incorporating your videos into your site.

Instead of having to run your YouTube channel in isolation of your existing site, you can actually bring the two together, and enhance both your website and channel at the same time.

First, your website visitors might not know about your YouTube channel. By adding your videos to your content you’ll get more people clicking over to your new channel. As you grow your views and your subscriber count, you’ll be well on your way to making money on YouTube.

Second, adding videos to your content can greatly improve the quality of your content. Just make sure that you’re only adding videos that add value to your existing content.

Third, since YouTube videos are generally a few minutes long this will also help to improve your on-site metrics, such as dwell time, which will have a positive influence on your search engine rankings.

As you can see, the simple act of inserting YouTube videos into your WordPress website can bring you a lot of benefits—all without too much additional work.


Best YouTube Video WordPress Themes

Before we jump into how to actually embed YouTube videos into WordPress, we’ll look at a few themes that’ll help to simplify the process.

Why would you want a WordPress video theme?

If you’re building a WordPress site that’s going to be heavy on video content, then this might be a feature you require. Or, if you’re looking for a great way to showcase your videography work, then choosing a video-friendly theme might be the preferred route to take.

Remember, if you’re going to have a media heavy website, then you’ll want to make sure your current web hosting for your WordPress site can support regular streaming video, without your site going offline.

Here are a few of the best WordPress video themes currently on the market:


1. VideoPro

videopro wordpress theme

VideoPro is a great theme that can help you create a massive video-sharing site that’s similar to YouTube. It’s a very flexible theme, so you can create any kind of video site you desire.

There’s integrated support for the largest video sites out there, and of course, YouTube. It has many similar features to YouTube as well. For example, users can create their own video channels, create and manage playlists, and a lot more.

Plus, there’s a useful membership feature that allows you to create a section of the site where you can sell premium content.


2. VideoFly

videofly wordpress theme

VideoFly is an elegant video theme that has plenty of whitespace. The end result is a video site that’s very easy on the eyes and fun to spend time on. It’s very intuitive and easy to use, both in the setup and the user video submission feature.

You can either embed, upload, or insert videos with this theme, or simply use the included YouTube importer.

With the VideoFly WordPress plugin, there are plenty of customization options to help make your video site unique. Plus, you have multiple ways you can integrate ads into your site too.


3. Vlog

vlog video blog wordpress theme

Vlog is a theme that’s perfect for video bloggers. It’s very elegant and is equipped with a variety of layouts, so you can display your videos on your WordPress site however you want.

You can embed the video in your blog posts, as a featured image, or even group your videos into playlists.

Plus, this WordPress video plugin is compatible with most of the largest video sharing sites out there, including YouTube.


4. Soledad

soledad wordpress theme

Soledad is a very versatile WordPress video theme. With its near endless ability to customize your layouts and display content in different ways, you can truly make your creative vision come to life.

There are hundreds of included templates, or you can build your own layout entirely from scratch with the included Visual Composer.

There are also built-in tools to easily embed and incorporate video content into your WordPress site. For example, you can use videos in place of the standard featured image.


6 Different Ways You Can Embed a YouTube Video in WordPress

Like most things with WordPress, there are multiple approaches to accomplishing any task. Here are a few of the most common ways to embed YouTube videos into WordPress.

As you’ll see below there are a few different embed types, depending on what kind of video content you want to embed, how you want it to display, or whether or not you want to embed your entire YouTube channel.


1. The Simple Add Media Approach

The first method is also the most straightforward. With this approach, you’ll be using the Add Media function to embed a video into your site.

First, navigate to any post or page on your site. From within the post or page editor click Add Media.

insert video url to wordpress

Next, select the option on the left-hand side that says Insert from URL, and then input the URL of your YouTube video on WordPress. Click Insert into page and the video will automatically be inserted into your page.

Note that this is different than uploading an entire video to your site. Instead, WordPress pulls and embeds the video from the URL. That way your site isn’t responsible for actually hosting the video. With this method, you can link to any video on YouTube, and it doesn’t even have to be your own video!

This method is entirely functional and your viewers can either watch the video on your site or click through and watch the video directly on YouTube.


2. Embed Your Entire YouTube Channel

If you have an existing YouTube channel, then you might want to embed your entire channel into a dedicated page on your WordPress site. This gives you a chance to show off all of your video content, and encourages your visitors to check out your channel on YouTube too.

You can easily do this with the YourChannel plugin.

yourchannel wp plugin

To set up this plugin, navigate to Plugins>Add New, and search for YourChannel, then install the plugin that looks like the image below:

install yourchannel plugin

Once the plugin is installed you can configure the plugin by navigating to Settings>YourChannel.

On this screen, you’ll need to enter your YouTube API, along with your channel ID, or your username.

setup yourchannel plugin

The other options on this screen will let you configure the display options for your channel. Once these are to your liking you can copy and paste the WordPress shortcode and add it to any portion of your site where you want to display your videos.

video blog


3. Use a YouTube Video Widget

Next, you may want to add a video to your site, but you want more options than the simple embed in step one gave you.

If your site has multiple widget areas, or at the very least, a widgetized sidebar, then you can use the plugin called YouTube Widget Responsive.

youtube widget responsive plugin

To install this plugin navigate to Plugins>Add New and search for YouTube Widget Responsive, then install the plugin that looks like the one below:

install youtube widget responsive

Now that the plugin is installed navigate to the widget portion of your site under Appearance>Widgets. Now locate a widget called ‘Youtube widget responsive’ and drag that widget to any section of your site.

video sidebar

Now, all you have to do is enter the video URL and click Save. Then you’ll have a few additional customization options you can change to your liking as well.


4. Create a YouTube Video Gallery

If you want to embed a gallery of videos, but don’t want to embed an entire YouTube channel, then you’ll want to use a gallery plugin.

There are a few different WordPress video gallery plugins like YouTube Gallery, YotuWP, and Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery. Since this post is all about YouTube, then we’ll be using the Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery plugin.

video gallery youtube gallery

To install this plugin navigate to Plugins>Add New and search for Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery, and install the plugin that looks like the one below:

video gallery wordpress plugin

To configure this plugin find the new Gallery Video tab on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard.

On this screen select New Gallery Video, add a title for your gallery, and select the kind of layout you want.

Now it’s time to add a few videos. To do this click on the Add Video button, and then enter the URL of the video. Click Save Video and you’re all set.

add video

The beauty of this WordPress video plugin is that you can add as many videos as you’d like. Once you’re done adding videos hit Save towards the top of the page and then you’ll have a shortcode you can copy and paste anywhere on your site.


5. Add a Video Without YouTube Branding

Maybe you want to insert a video into your site, but don’t want to have the YouTube branding present. This can help to create a more cohesive look and works well if the video is part of a landing page, where you want to keep your visitors on the page (not clicking off to YouTube).

It essentially allows you to use the video on your site, under your own branding, while still hosting the video with YouTube.

youtube plugin

To do this we’ll be using a plugin called YouTube Embed Plus.

To install this plugin navigate to Plugins>Add New and search for YouTube Embed Plus. Then install the plugin that looks like the one below:

install youtube embed plugin

Now, you’ll see a tab called YouTube Free on the left-hand side of the page.

youtube settings on wordpress

Here you’ll have all kinds of options, which will allow you to embed and turn off certain video display features.


6. Add a Pop-Up Video Lightbox

For the final YouTube video embed, you’re going to learn how to create a video lightbox. These can be effective in placing your viewer’s full attention onto each video while giving it a cool effect.

To achieve this you’ll need to use a WordPress plugin called WP Video Lightbox.

wp video lightbox

To install this plugin navigate to Plugins>Add New and type in WP Video Lightbox in the search bar. Then install the plugin that looks like the one below:

install wp video lightbox

Now, on the left-hand column navigate to Settings>Video Lightbox. Here you’ll be able to properly set up the plugin to your liking.

If you’re having trouble configuring the plugin, there’s extensive documentation that can help to walk you through any issues you’re having.  


Can’t I Just Upload Videos Straight to WordPress?

One common question when adding videos to WordPress is: why can’t I just add videos directly to WordPress? Now, it is possible. Just upload your video directly into your media library.

But, taking this approach (instead of first uploading your video to a third-party provider) will usually greatly decrease your overall site performance. If your site gets a lot of traffic, then your site will probably go offline.

If you have managed hosting of some sort, then your site will probably be fine. But then you’re missing out on all of that additional YouTube traffic, which in turn can help to grow your channel.

Plus, by uploading directly to WordPress you make it that much more difficult to share your video to help it reach a wider audience. The only people who will see your video are those who actually visit your site.

Do yourself a favor and upload your videos to YouTube, or another supported video provider, before embedding them on your WordPress site. You’ll get the best of both worlds.


In Closing

Video is quickly becoming one of the most dominant forms of content across the web.

If you’re only relying on text to get your message across, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to engage your visitors in new ways.

Plus, if you have any existing YouTube channel, then linking both your website and your channel together is a great way to promote both and expose your work to new audiences.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the multiple approaches you can take to add YouTube videos on WordPress . You don’t have to use every one of the WordPress video plugins highlighted above, but instead, just those that make sense in the existing context of your site.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.